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The domestic recycled steel market has remained firm since the beginning of August. As electric furnace operators entered the period of summer production cuts, there was a move to lower purchase prices but this was limited to minor numbers. Most customers maintained the prices that had been revised downwards in mid-July; thus, domestic prices continue to hover at a high level of Yen 50,000 per tonne (around US$ 335).

On August 12, the Kanto tender for 15,000 tonnes was won at Yen 51,316 per tonne (US$ 344.40) for September contract. This represented an increase of Yen 1517 per tonne (US$ 10.18) from the previous month and a return above the Yen 50,000 level for the first time in five months. Four consecutive months of increase have been seen since June.

According to the Ministry of Finance/Trade Statistics, Japan’s recycled steel export volumes amounted to 567,507 tonnes in August, an increase of 0.1% from the previous month and of 14.6% from the same month last year. Although it was the fourth consecutive month of growth over last year, the total fell below 600,000 tonnes in both July and August after reaching a 2023 peak of 638,057 tonnes in June.

According to the Japan Iron and Steel Federation, crude steel production in August was at 7.146 million tonnes - down 3.2% from the previous month and 2.9% from the same month last year. This was the first year-on-year decline in two months and also represented a drop compared to the previous month as this was at the peak of the summer production cuts. Average daily crude steel production in August was 231,000 tonnes, down 3.2% from July’s 238,000 tonnes.